July 16, 2011

Clarity of Night contest entry

Jason Evans at Clarity of Night has dipped into the crazy brew again and is running another contest. I just sent in the entry below and hope it makes the cut. (Only the first 100 entries get posted and considered.)

The task: Use this photo (titled "Elemental") by Jason as inspiration for a fictional piece of 250 words or less in any genre. That's about it.

Although I will adore you forever if you comment here, please visit Jason's contest page and see all the entries. There are some really terrific writers there that make this a high quality contest.

UPDATE: My entry made it in exactly halfway, at number 50.

Shadows on Concrete
by Peter Dudley

All that remained were shadows on concrete. An atomic flashbulb caught a mother kissing her infant. It burned a snapshot onto the concrete wall behind them even as their bodies vaporized.

A thousand miles away, a “lucky bullet” from an M1 Garand found its way through a hundred leaves and into the breast pocket of a soldier squatting for a piss behind a bush. It pierced a letter lovingly scripted in blue ink, a crisp snapshot of a pregnant woman, and the soldier’s heart.

Half a century later, a man stands on a ledge overlooking a pit as wide as a city block and as deep as the sorrow lodged inside him. Concrete, asbestos, steel, and glass. Twisted, melted, crumbled to dust. Somewhere under the grinding treads of the backhoes lie the pulverized bones of his granddaughter and her unborn son.

Ten thousand times he has asked forgiveness. His only reply is hollow silence. He turns to the board labeled “Missing” and again gently touches the snapshot of a young, pregnant woman. Her golden hair is eternally swirled by a gentle breeze.

He has kept the M1 rifle all these years, in a locked trunk in his attic. A single bullet clatters against his old dog tags in his breast pocket.

He turns to shuffle off to the bus stop, the crisp January chill churning aches in his old knees. The cold sun spreads his shadow across the concrete, even as he fades away into the winter afternoon.

July 5, 2011

the devil made us do it

The Tasmanian Devil, that is. An endangered critter that could fade into history embodied only by the whirling dervish of Bugs Bunny cartoons.

The authors of the stories in the anthology "Extinct Doesn't Mean Forever" are donating all profits from the sale of the ebook until July 15th, 2011 to help save the devils.

If you've not bought it, please do before the 15th. I don't need the profits, but these little critters do.

For more information:
To skip the information and just buy the book:
... but if you can visit those blogs, if only to thank them for helping promote this donation, that would be nice. Thank you.

July 4, 2011

Independence Day

Today in the United States we celebrate not only these words but the spirit behind them.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,
And that's about all that most Americans have ever heard (if that much) of the Declaration. But the men that rose up against the English king in the 1770s weren't simple rabble rousers out to take power for themselves. Some no doubt met that description, but most did not. Many turned to Independence reluctantly, and they were careful to outline their grievances. But even in the Declaration they hinted at the thinking that led to the form of government we have now.
Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.
Today we change our government every few years, or at least the people who are governing. While this has solved many of the problems of a monarchy, it has not been flawless.

Today we do not celebrate our government, our elected officials, our troops, the Revolution, or the fact that we won it. Today we celebrate the courage and wisdom of the people (men and women) who stood up for their liberty against tyranny. They risked their lives and livelihoods for their ideals.

Sometimes it's very difficult to tell the difference between insurgents and freedom fighters. On July 4th every year, and indeed on every day of the year, Americans should seek the wisdom to be able to tell the difference, and to take the side of liberty rather than the side of tyranny in the world's conflicts.

Read the Declaration recently? If not, find it here.